October 1, 2012

This Weekend has a special day!

This weekend has a special day,  two actually.

No, I'm not talking about my birthday...it IS my birthday on Sunday though...part of what makes this a special weekend.

What makes this weekends special is this: Twice a year - in April and again in October we get to hear from living Prophets. I love General Conference!!The kids get a little antsy and I guess I do as well; but I love to hear the words of wisdom the General Authorities have to share.  My favorite talks are about women - these Latter-Day Saint leaders have a respect and love for the women of the church. I love that.

So I invite you to come, bring your family to the nearest chapel or stay at home and listen online or on your phone.  But come and Listen to a Prophet's Voice!!

Hit the LINK and we will listen together. (to the right).

SATURDAY 12pm EST, 4pm EST & 6pm EST Priesthood session for the guys at the chapel
SUNDAY 12pm EST & 4pm EST

Busy as Zs...summer update {sigh}

 **DISCLAIMER: I am ADD in person. {Get a little distracted lately??}**

I have had this typed up and ready to post and actually thought I HAD posted it already....so as FALL is here (today is 10/1/12) I will finally post the SUMMER update from July. {sigh}  

So far this school year, I have been busy preparing and placing items in my Etsy shop (keep watching, new things regularly :o) )  Steven is working 3 jobs and going to school, the kids are in THREE separate schools (elementary, middle and high school), after school sports, scouts at church and Tallen is a Tiger Cubscout at school, and activities.  BUSY!

OK - so here is the now OLD and informative post.  Info is still valid...  
Summer is upon us and we are busy as bees here.

I have to start with LAST summer to lead into this one.
This is what we did in 2011:
  • The MAJOR project : Steven took OFF the hideous front deck and replaced it with a huge dining room/craft space. It's really the biggest room we have beyond the living room, but it's close I think. Mostly FREE. Got the metal roof at Habitat for Humanity Restore, walls at Home Depot. OK maybe $150?  I'll update cost when I post about it. 
  • Built the girls a queen sized loft bed & reading nook. So COOL.
  • Built a queen sized platform bed (I guess that's what it is...we raised our bed high enough to have 10 totes under it and Missy has to have a set of steps to get on the bed.)
  • Put in a cute table next to the washer and dryer. I know. big deal, right? No, this is a big deal.  We were blessed to be able to get a stackable washer/dryer set in the spring. The magic lies in the fact that they share the bathroom with a tub, vanity and toilet. So a CUTE - and FREE - table is great. Someplace to fold clothes and the litter box lives under the table. (That alone is awesome. Not out in the open as much. yuck)
  • Put up a fenced area around the trash cans so they are not seen from the street. I hate that! And the grill hides there in the off season as well.

What we have doen THIS Summer (so far):
  • Papered the dining room walls - some twice in fact! More about that another time. Cost of papering $10 - see? you want to hear this!
  • Brought in & assembled the craft area furniture (YEAH!!!! I'm a bit excited about this.) I was able to get the IKEA Expedit. LOVE!! I got the 5x5!! 25 Glorious squares to use! Now comes the tough go-through-and-sort-and-make-everything-pretty part.  Also got the 2x4 (8 blocks) and the desk that hangs on to it. HeAvEn.  :o)
  • Put up a rustic wood headboard in the master bedroom - interesting story. FREE!!
  • Painted a few pieces of furniture to better suit our nowness (I know, I made that up but it suits me)
  • "Built" a "stair" garden and planted it. FREE.
  • Helped my in-laws tear off the porch and roof (we put the roof ON last summer...sigh) of their summer abode. They have a smallish 5th wheel they stay in in a campground in southern Michigan while escaping the heat in Florida.  They bought a new largish 5th wheel they are moving into place in the next few weeks so we were helping prepare for the removal of one and movement of the other -  SO worth it. (update - as this is being post AFTER move in; I will tell you that my MIL reported that she could live in it YEAR round if FIL would let her.  It's roomy - with the living room and bedroom opening up and coming out of the sides.  Light bright and lovely.  A very tiny home)
  • I have sewn some SUPER cute ties for Tallen, a few shrugs for the girls and me, and a maxi skirt. I am LOVING skirts this summer. Swishy and feminine.  I have also knit a pair of baby socks for no one in particular, several pair of Mary Jane booties, worked on a pinwheel blanket for my newest Great niece, and made oodles of stitch markers and row counters to put in my Etsy shop. You can find it here: browniesforbrunch.etsy.com   **also - you can click the link to the right --->
  • I have been attending (with glee) my monthly craft night with the girls from church!!  Lots of sewing going on right now.  I love that little bit of girl time out.  Time out for me is important. I come home refreshed and inspired.
  • Does making a 4th of July display count?? I think so.  I took an old dresser outside and (still) plan on planting flowers in the drawers. I then put my beadboard flag and the "land that I love" blocks I made (at craft night) on it with a lantern - so cute!!
Plans still for this summer:
  • finish the floor and ceiling in the dining room.  I think I will paper the floor as well and then stain it.  It will be lovely. Perhaps fabric on the ceiling?  We'll see what I find online to try.
  • Make a banquet seat with storage from cabinets. I'm thrilled to have more storage!  We are half way through this project right now and so the cabinets are blocking my crafty table until Saturday when Steven returns from High Adventure.  He took off this evening with the boys to go to Pictured Rocks in upper Michigan. * As it was 100 degrees last week here, it was 72 there.  Beauty and fresh cool air sounds great. * 
  • Make a farm table to replace the big oak table we currently have.  It seats 10-12 people and has 8 chairs. If you need a table soon....keep me in mind. Facebook message me. It will probably go on Craigslist otherwise.  
  • Paint the teenager room.  THIS must be completed next week so as to have it finished BEFORE said teenagers return from visiting their Dad.  I want it done and pretty so I can take pictures.  They love the loft bed that Steven built them last summer. I know, no pictures yet...gotta have a clean room for that.  
  • Make curtains for all the bedrooms, kitchen and dining room/craft room.  The heat just bears down sometimes and this will help.
  • Make a cushion for the banquet and the chairs on the other side of the yet unmade table. ;o)
  • Build a wall of  "built in" storage.  Our home is SMALL. Really small, and we need as much storage as we can get.  The Habitat for Humanity Restore got in an entire apartment complex worth of cabinets! So they are 75% off right off the bat because there are so many. We have two 6 foot strings for the banquet seat and plan to get more to cover the entire back wall of the living room. What else would I do with that wall???  I will then pass the shelves I have there now, on to someone else...Craigslist again?
  • I so need a pot rack in the kitchen. That is on my (wish)list as well.  Actually...
  • ** Put in the new kitchen** THAT is on my (NOW)list. We were able to get a great deal on some floor sample cabinets while Steven was at Home Depot last summer and have yet to install them.  That will be a major gut and redo. The cabinets we have now STILL have no doors and haven't for 2 yrs now (OF COURSE NOT!!!) A friend was stripping the nasty DARK BLUE and BROWN paint and priming them (that took about a year - they are NASTY and troublesome), then we got the new cabinets and they were going to be put in with a new counter and back splash and all, so I never bothered to put the doors back on. Not that they would fit anymore. I took down the trim work at the top and so the uppers are all too short now. We were GOING to put the new in but Steven felt we needed to make space to take the kitchen things out of the kitchen, so built the dining room first. That makes sense. That is done, so NoW iT Is TiMe FoR ThE KiTcHeN. (please oh please Honey??)
  • Replace the tub and fixtures is on my list, but may not happen right away. Unless I suddenly find a white tub, facing the right direction, and the perfect size and price at the Habitat Restore. Then it moves up in front of the kitchen again.  {sigh}
I'm sure there are more I have forgotten.  Needless to say - we are busy Zs around here.  Lake visits, swimming in the pool, playing with friends, seeing Grandma & Grandpa, family reunions, etc., etc. !!

Have a great summer!!

August 15, 2012

More Dirty Laundry

I LOVE when I can save my family money and still do my job of being the MOST awesome Mama!!!! Actually, I think the ways I save us money make me an even MORE awesome Mama.  
I make tortillas to feed Sariah's obsession with salsa
I can jelly for our PB&J freaky boy 
Most of our clothes come from thrift shops (name brands and so many more choices in one convenient place) 
I sew some clothes myself 
I make decor for our home inexpensivley (LOVE those monthly craft nights!!)
We cook from scratch most meals
I make our laundry soap.
See - We rock!
(mostly.  We are told to be prepared. to have a year's supply ready for emergencies...let's just say "It's a work in progress."

This post is about LAUNDRY, a topic that continues to come up in my circle of friends. 

Here's the laundry recipe I use most of the time. I ahve tried 1 other and didn't like it. I found all the supplies at Meijer (WalMart would probably have them as well.) there are also recipes for powdered detergent out there. Here's one that sounds promising.  I'll try it next time and report back. :o)

For one batch:
I shred up some Fels Naptha bar soap,
- melt 1/3 cup in 6 cups of water over medium heat.  
- add 1/2 cup Borax, 
- add 1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda and mix until melty. 
- put 4 cups HOT water in a big bucket that is not needed for a few days
- add the soapy mix and stir it all together.
- add  MORE water (one gallon plus 6 cups) and stir again.
- Then, let it sit for 24 hours and it ends  up the texture of egg-drop soup.   

You use a 1/2 cup for each load of laundry. That's it.

I had a regular washer when I started making this recipe, I have an High Efficiancy washer now (such a blessing) and I use this recipe still.  The detergent DOES NOT foam. So I am good to go.  LOVE IT!!! 

Oh and I NOW put my finished product in a decorative jar with a lid instead of the ugly bottles like before.  The jar sits on a table next to my washer. Pretty :o) (and not drippy)

*You can leave it in the covered bucket (like a dog food or kitty litter bucket OR a nice one with a lid from Home Depot) OR put it all the bottles saved from OTHER detergents previously used. It's easier and less messy to pour from a small bottle and not have it dripping from my hand as bent over to dip in the bucket. I kept it in the bucket the first batch I made last year.) 

The cost is amazing at less that 2 cents per load!!! (even a little more would be fine with me...it's awesome)


July 23, 2012

Money in the Banquette

We have a cute house – it once was an ugly house, but it is coming along. Steven built me a 13x13 dining room/craft room in place of the front porch last summer!! I LOVE it.  I  finally got the IKEA shelves I had longed for for so long.  But that’s not what I’m all excited about right now. (I’ll show you those another day, when they are better organized.)
I am excited about the banquette we made! I like my table. It’s been through a lot in the last 11 years I have had it.  I WANT a farm table and Steven has said we can build one, but not today. (I feel like a little girl being stalled at the grocery store candy isle.) The table is big – seats 12 pretty comfy – we have 8 chairs. The chairs are getting tired as well.  spring summer 12 153
We need more storage. And WHO on earth doesn’t need more storage?? SO we built a L-shaped banquette to use instead if these chairs.
I went to the Habitat for Humanity Restore near us. (LOVE that place!) They had just gotten in a HUGE bunch of cabinets. An apartment complex was changing them all out at the same time = lots = discounted right off the bat!
     75 percent off!
yay!! OK, I can be calm. {breathe}
I was able to get 2 6’ strings of upper cabinets (17 inches tall = perfect seating height)
(2) 6’ cabinets: 60 dollars each = 120
             75 percent off:  – 90
final cost for 12’ cabinets       30 !
amazing I know!
spring summer 12 154
I got them home and cleaned up. They looked good to begin with.
I needed 8’ of seating on one wall and 4’ on the other. I had 2 6’ cabinet strings.  So, Steven cut them for me. Then we attached them together at the right lengths. (inserting inner boards where needed)
spring summer 12 156spring summer 12 158
spring summer 12 163spring summer 12 164
We grabbed some 2x4’s from the stash (free) and made a frame. I wanted the seat to be a certain depth so as to have pillows behind the back while seated. My sweet man made up the frame so fast I didn’t even have a chance to help. 
june july 2012 1808
june july 2012 1826
We bought a piece of hardboard at Home Depot 20ish dollars (I don’t remember, it’s been a few weeks in process) and we cut it to fit the top. LOVE the feel and the ability to router the edges. NICE.
Truffle approves of the bench, as does Steven. Doesn’t he look so pleased with himself?
june july 2012 1831june july 2012 1828june july 2012 1824

before the routerjune july 2012 1836
(after the router and preparing to paint. I didn’t want the doors getting painted.)
The best part, I think, is the painting. (free paint – left over from craft night a year ago. So not actually free – probably 5 dollars worth of paint was used.) We did 2 coats on the edges and 3 coats on the ends and top.  I think it looks GREAT!
june july 2012 1840IMG_20120723_225026IMG_20120723_224831
And I must add – NOT bad for (let’s add it up…)
12’ cabinets        30
2x4’s from stash    0
hardbaord         20
paint               5
$ + $ + $ + $ + $

July 22, 2012

Missing those Girls

My girls...those silly and giggly girls, those loud and rebellious girls that drive me crazy! 
I have been missing them for 4 weeks. (they come home this weekend! yay!) They get to spend 5 weeks with Dad each summer.  And it's getting harder to do the summer thing the older they get. 
It was CRAZY hard to send my itty bitty girls - 6 months & 2 yrs off for the weekends it was hard to send them for a whole week at 4 & 6 yrs. and it was REALLY hard when they were 7 & 9 yrs, to send them off on a plane for spring break (that was doubly hard because I was induced the next morning for Tallen). 
But now that they are 13 & 15, it's even harder!  They have friends to see, places to go and obligations to tend to. Sariah wants to get a summer job. Miranda needs to start getting conditioned for fall sports.  They have Youth Conference and Girls Camp to prepare for.  Oh, and did I mention that I miss them?  I miss the loud laughter and girl-stuff they do in their room (curling hair and make up and talking of boys :o) ) I don't miss the arguing so much and am not looking forward to that again, but I guess it's kinda part of the FINDING ONESELF during the teen years, that goes on.
Anyhow, I was looking around on YouTube and found this song. "Walking Her Home" (good song. you'll see)   It especially makes me think of my girls. My sweet growing up “thinking of boys” girls.  I want them to have a good experience with love,  THIS kind of love.  The kind that lasts all those years: through the kids, the work and lay offs, the injuries and offenses, the in-laws, the good and the bad.  This song makes me think of my sweet Steven and the love we found and now share (and hope to continue to share as we head into the twilight years of life.)  I want my girls to grow up and feel the love of a GOOD man. A strong and upstanding man, To build a life and a marriage to the Glory of God.

June 29, 2012

Missy - a year later

Missy has been with us a full year. Today, in fact, marks that milestone. One year ...wow.  Here's the post from a year ago.

Missy June 29, 2011

Today, she is healthy, happy and content. Her fur is fluffier and healthier.

(cruddy phone pictures)

Her smile is bigger. And so is mine. She is my shadow and my {almost} constant companion. You can see her hanging out with me - in the car to early morning seminary, and to school if the bus is missed, to the bus stop morning and afternoon.  We walk together. When I get up from one place and walk to another, she is right there.  EVERY place. She sleeps next to me.  (Steven has to ask for his spot back when he comes in.)  She is dear to me and I to her. And I can barely remember life without her.

June 13, 2012

The Great Kiss-off

Girls are so funny. I will have to ask my girls if they have ever done this...

May 7, 2012

The Yeti

Tallen came in the house in a rush and the conversation went like this...

Tallen: Daddy, come outside!
Daddy: Why?
T: There's a yeti.
D: A yeti??
T: Yeah! They eat skin. We need to kill it.
D: What should we kill it with?
T: A "baby gun" or a knife.
D: O.K., I'll be right there. Can I go to the bathroom first?
T: I guess so.

And they left the room...

The yeti must have wandered off during the bathroom break, because he was nowhere to be found.
The toys did get cleaned up though, so the yeti won't play with them.

Thanks for protecting the family honey.

Oh, and watch out...the yeti may show up to play with the toys at your house. You never know.